A Painted Apartment

Chicago, IL 

This Chicago apartment overlooks Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan. The client was no longer interested in living with paintings hanging on the walls but wanted to be surrounded by an integral work of art — 

to live within a painting. 


All walls, except those surrounding the kitchen and bathroom, were eliminated, allowing the continuous band of windows in this Mies van der Rohe apartment to unify the space. The spaces were defined through architectural elements instead: walls of backlit glass block, furniture, storage cabinets, and perforated metal screens. The floors, walls, and ceiling are finished with a highly reflective paint of stenciled dots that extends the space vertically. 


The central area is manipulated by curving glass light boxes and perforated metal screens of different densities, which combine to form a multitude of patterns that activate the space and give it kinetic energy. This fluctuation of the space is created by graduated dot openings in the screens, which, depending on the natural light, are either transparent, translucent, or reflective.



Citation of Merit, 1985 - AIA Chicago Chapter

Photography: Timothy Hursley & Wolfgang Hoyt


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